Sports has a unique way of creating a lasting impression upon its loyalists — whether it is the unexpected or all-but-assured, beholding history is something that draws us to sports time and again. We all stay glued to the screens, in anticipation of what is there to come, with no definitive outcome in sight — the unpredictability of the game, and the rise and fall of some of the best athletes the world has ever seen. While some of these moments become great due to their near-impossible nature, others have impacts that go even beyond the game itself. As great as some have been over the years, the ten moments recapped in the article were also deemed impossible at one time.
Disclaimer: Not based on rankings. The numbers are in no particular order.
#10 Lost By A Whisker
India lost the Champions Trophy final for the second successive time against Australia on penalty shootouts and settled for silver last year. Australia was the superior side in the penalty shootout after the match ended 1-1 in regulation time. It was a repeat of the 2016 final match when Australia got the better of India through a controversial penalty shootout. Manpreet Singh was the only Indian player who managed to convert his stroke while Sardar Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, and Lalit Upadhyay missed their strokes. Throughout the history of FIH Champions Trophy, India and Australia have played against each other a total of 17 times. India has only two wins to show from those meetings while Australia has won 13 of those times and two times, the match has ended in a high-scoring draw.
#9 Sindhu’s Rio Heartbreak
Ace Indian shuttler P V Sindhu’s silver streak deserves a special mention here. While a tired Sindhu would try her hardest each time she stepped on the court, a flurry of questions kept floating about her losses in the finals — big and small. With seven finals lost in-a-row since she won the Korean Open last year, it was only a matter of time before she bridged the narrowest of gaps and became the new world champion in badminton toppling Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the finals of BWF World Championship this year in Switzerland. Sindhu bagged the elusive gold medal after her a long wait which resulted in her securing four medals earlier — bronze in 2013, 2014 and silver in 2017 and 2018.
#8 Silver Lining For Panghal
Amit Panghal has been one of India’s most consistent boxers in the recent past. Ever since Panghal went on to win the bronze at Asian Championships in 2017, the 23-year-old has been on an upward trajectory. He put on a valiant effort but lost the intense 52kg final against Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov to settle with a historic silver at the World Boxing Championships this year. Panghal lost 0-5 to reigning Olympic champion Zoirov to win India’s first silver medal by a male at the World Boxing Championships. Before this year, India had never won more than one bronze medal at a single edition of the world championships.